'Ghost Guns' not an issue locally, but appear to be part of a growing issue nationally
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - President Biden has announced a new crackdown on so-called 'ghost guns' that are untraceable and don't require background checks.
The federal regulations announced Monday will require buyers to pass a background check, manufacturers to put serial numbers on the firearm's components and firearm dealers to add a serial number to already built ghost guns they come across.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Office in Kansas City says anytime a gun is used in a crime, it is traced, and when something can't be traced, it's an issue.
"This doesn't worry me too much at all. If somebody says 'okay we are not going to sell these little parts here that somebody can make their own thing'... that isn't going to worry me. It doesn't affect my business whatsoever, because we don't sell them," Mike Relihan, the Owner of Bullseye Shooting Range said.
Bullseye Shooting Range doesn't sell self-manufactured guns or any kits that allow you to make your own.
"There aren't that many of them out there and there aren't many people with skills to do it and complete the thing," Relihan added.
The owner of the shop, Mike Relihan, says most people wouldn't know how to even assemble one from a kit. He says it requires skilled machining and milling.
"We have not seen the numbers of 'ghost guns' involved in crime in this part of the country, although that is changing and we are seeing them recovered more and more by law enforcement in Kansas, certainly," John Ham, a Public Information Officer for ATF in Kansas City said.
The ability for people who are otherwise prohibited by federal law to obtain a gun, ATF says, is a real problem for the public safety community.
"In Wichita, if a gun is recovered, as part of a criminal investigation, WPD contacts ATF and we trace that gun for them and tell them where that gun came from," Ham added. "... if a gun is recovered and you find that gun was purchased 2 or 3 days ago, that is information as an investigator that you need to know, and information that can make a difference in your case. With ghost guns, because they don't have the required markings that guns made for commercial sale in the United States have, we as law enforcement and as ATF lose the ability to trace those guns."
Every year the ATF's National Tracing Center traces in the neighborhood of 400,000 firearms for law enforcement in the US and its international community.
ATF says it's unknown what percentage of recovered guns may be self-manufactured or 'ghost guns'. As the term 'ghost' implies, they are very hard to trace.
WPD shared this statement: "While WPD is aware of the National trends surrounding ghost guns, there have been too few cases locally to provide accurate data - More concerning for our department is the continuous theft of lawfully owned firearms that enter the hands of criminals. We continually push for public awareness of the importance of securing firearms to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands and perpetuating gun violence in our community."
The Derby Police Department said it does not have any dealings with ghost guns or self-manufactured firearms to have any concerns at this point.